Lead sheets are standard amongst jazz artists and composers, but they're also a useful tool that all musicians should be able to make if needed. Above is my YouTube tutorial, and as promised I'm also giving a step-by-step breakdown:
Note: The video associated with this tutorial has since been deleted. Hopefully, you still find this post helpful!
Step 1: Select "Treble Staff"
Although Sibelius offers a "lead sheet" template, it uses an Inkpen font (much like the Real Books) and I find it to be less professional looking, so I use "treble staff". It's really personal preference, everything else is the same.
Step 2: Select Time Signature, Tempo and Key
Time signature is pretty obvious.
With tempo, you can either use a metronome mark, type in the tempo or both.
To find the correct key signature, navigate the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Input Title and Composer
As I said in the video, I use the composer area to list both the composer and the lyricist, and use the lead sheet area to signify if the music is a lead sheet, concert score or transposed score.
Step 4: Clean and Prep
Before inputing anything, I like to clean up the lead sheet and get it organized. First off, select the two "Full Score"s and hit delete; click "no" when the pop up comes up.
Next, click on the bar line on the fourth measure and hit enter to make lines of four measures. Once you have all the measures you need, hold select and highlight any unwanted measures, then click command+delete.
Step 5: Input the Notes
The "Keypad" in the bottom-righthand corner of the screen will give you all of the tools you'll need to input notes into your lead sheet. Each button correlates to a number or button on your computer keyboard's number pad area.
For quick and easy note input, start by highlighting the first rest by clicking on it, use the keypad to select the correct note value, then type the note name in on the keyboard. Continue this until all notes are on the page.
Step 6: Add Chord Symbols
Chord symbols can quickly and easily be inputted by clicking on the note head, clicking command+k, then simply typing the chord symbol in. Sibelius will automatically make the aesthetic changes necessary.
Step 7: Lyrics
To add lyrics to a lead sheet, highlight the first note head, look for the "Text" tab on the menu bar at the top of the scree, then click "Lyrics" and "Lyrics Line 1". Type the lyrics as you would in a word processor, using the space bar to jump from note to note.
You can use a "-" to connect one word over two or more notes.
Step 8: Print or Export
Once you have all of the music on the pages and everything is neat and organized, you can print or export by clicking command+P. Here you can navigate to export any MIDI info, audio, PDF and anything else you might need.
That's about it! Thanks for watching/reading and please let me know if you have any questions!
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